BioShock was designed by Ken Levine and developed by 2K Boston. BioShock 2 is not. Levine is not working on the game. But should you be worried?
The second entry in the BioShock franchise is being developed by 2K Marin and 2K Australia. The BioShock 2 trailer was recently released, and while it doesn't show any real gameplay, it does look promising. Kotaku's preview for the game has been promising as well.
2K Australia helped on the original BioShock and is working on the sequel. 2K Marin's Jordan Thomas, who worked on the original game as a level designer, has taken the reigns for the sequel. Still, there is a tide of skeptics.
But BioShock 2 isn't the only sequel to switch development studios or creative forces. The Call of Duty games seem to go between Infinity Ward and Treyarch to varying degrees of success. The Need for Speed games have been worked on by at least six different studios. Far Cry went from Crytek to Ubisoft for Far Cry 2. And take Street Fighter IV, the game was not developed in-house by Capcom, but by Dimps, best known for the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai titles. Ironically, Dimps was founded by the designer of the first Street Fighter game, who left the series to go to SNK.
What about Ninja Gaiden? It was originally developed by Tecmo in 1988 and there were solid sequels, but the franchise really hit its stride under Tomonobu Itagaki and Tecmo's Team Ninja when he took the reigns with the Xbox reboot Ninja Gaiden. Or how about Castlevania? The game was released in 1986 and like Ninja Gaiden, Castlevania had solid sequels. But it wasn't until Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that Koji Igarashi, who has since become inseparable with 2D Castlevania games, began work on the series.
And moving beyond games, bringing in different teams to work on sequels is common — and sometimes the fresh blood energizes the sequel. The script for Empire Strikes Back was written by Lawrence Kasdan and Leigh Brackett, and both writers arguably are better than George Lucas at the nuts and bolts of clever script writing. Star Wars was helmed by Lucas, but Empire was directed by Irvin Kershner. Or how about Aliens? James Cameron offered his take on the universe created by the first film, Alien, which was directed by Ridley Scott.
So don't fret about BioShock 2 just yet — there is hope! The Legend of Zelda has turned out splendidly under the guidance of Eiji Aonuma. But not everyone is Eiji Aonuma or James Cameron. And for every Empire Strikes Back or French Connection 2, there's also a RoboCop 2. The Fly II. Or Teen Wolf Too. Yikes.